Tomorrow there are FOUR AWA Goodhue Wind dockets at the PUC, a siting docket where a Draft Permit is proposed, a Certificate of Need docket, and two Power Purchase Agreement dockets.

MOES Reply Comments – Siting Docket 08-1233

Staff Briefing Papers – PPA Dockets 09-1349 and 09-1350

Staff Briefing Papers – Certificate of Need 09-1186

So in response to that:

Goodhue Wind Truth – Siting Docket Comment 08-1233

Goodhue Wind Truth Comment – CoN & PPA 09-1186, 09-1349, 09-1350

To look up the dockets, go to and then “Search eDockets” and then search for the docket numbers, as above.

And check out the Goodhue Wind Truth site.

What’s the big deal?  Well, they want to site this project when the maps provided in the application are way way off, as in claiming land rights where they have none, “forgetting” to put homes on the map, that sort of thing.  No environmental review has been done and it’s a BIG project, the “Environmental Report” won’t be done until June — so why is this before the PUC now? And they claim it’s a C-BED project which has some preference in the scheme of Power Purchase Agreements and fulfilling the renewable energy mandate when it’s not exactly local ownership — remember those T. Boone Pickens articles last week? Pickens comes to Goodhue?


Pickens wind turbines come to Goodhue

Goodhue Wind ain’t C-BED!

April 8th, 2010

Goodhue Wind is in the news, and the timing is perfect foreshadowing for next week’s PUC meeting.

In yesterday’s MinnPost:

T. Boone Pickens Tilting at Minnesota Windmills?

In today’s STrib:

Pickens wind turbines coming to Goodhue

In going through the THREE FOOT pile of mail waiting here when I got back, I’ve been reading the Dept. of Commerce Information Requests to Goodhue Wind, and I am pleasantly shocked, they are ON this.  What is “this?”  The basic financing and C-BED claims of this project — it’s been smoke and mirrors from day one, and Commerce is paying attention, digging for more information, and it’s impressive.  MUST GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE, particularly to Commerce!!!

MOES Reply Comments

Staff Briefing Papers


Just in — here are the PUBLIC AWA/Goodhue’s responses to Commerce Information Requests.  All of these below are the PUBLIC versions — I don’t see much to gain by reviewing the specifics because that’s pretty restrictive.

First, Dockets 09-1349l 09-1350 and 09-1186 (PPA & Certificate of Need):

IR 1-4

IR 5

IR 5a

IR 5 Supplemental

IR 6

IR 7

IR 8 & 10

IR 9

IR 11

IR 12-13-14

Next, Docket 08-1233 (the siting docket)

IR 1

IR 2-3

What’s most disturbing about this project is that it’s just a small part of something much bigger that is laid out in the 2007 Biennial Transmission Plan, in their studies, stretching from a new “Cleveland” 345kV substation and line to the new “Hiawatha” substation, and from there, a 115kV line to the “new” Oakland/Midtown substation and down to a new “Penn Lake” substation (I remember one on Penn and 62 decades ago) and then to Wilson, which they admit had been recently upgraded and there’s room for expansion.

Here’s two pages of Chapter 7 of the 2007 Biennial Transmission Plan regarding this part of the world:

South Mpls Load Serving Study

Plus they admit that the Hiawatha substation is planned with 50MVA transformers and room/plans for two more!  Tripling capacity, at Hiawatha, to 150MVA.   At Oakland, there’s “only” room for one more, the first is 70MVA and the expansion room/plan is for one more 70MVA, totaling 140 MVA.

From the Xcel Application, a chart regarding Land Use Trends:


Let’s see… what uses more electricity, Industrial (anyone remember Minneapolis Moline?) or Residential?  Honeywell or Wells Fargo Mortgage?

Look what they’re using as their basis:


July 2006???  This is from their Hiawatha Application, Appendix D3, the South Minneapolis Electric Distribution Delivery System Long Term Study:

(Can’t get it now — says file is damaged)

Having looked through their studies, I don’t see any reason to not upgrade the distribution system and see where that leaves us, given that we’re in this depression.

An indication of how much ground we’ve lost over the last 30 years…

Wednesday I filed to have Judge Heydinger disqualified:

Overland Affidavit and Exhibits

And today, summarily denied:

Order – not an April Fools joke!

Here are a few snippets, well, the meat of it:

With respect to the allegation that ALJ Heydinger has restricted public participation in this hearing, the Chief Administrative Law Judge finds that Ms. Overland has not demonstrated bias. Minn. R. 1405.1400 states that “the administrative law judge shall indicate the procedural rules for the hearing.” In her prehearing orders, ALJ Heydinger has indicated the procedural rules and has not restricted any member of the public from presenting evidence or argument, nor has she prevented any person from being represented by counsel. What she has done is provide for procedures that will allow a complex, multi-party hearing to be held in an orderly and timely manner.

Specifically, ALJ Heydinger has set rules for parties to this action with respect to cross-examination at the hearing. Minn. R. 1405.1400 allows the ALJ to determine the sequence of cross-examination. The ALJ has in no way limited the right of the public to appear or present testimony. In attempting to set orderly and timely procedural rules for testimony and cross-examination by parties, the ALJ is not “raising the bar” for the public.

All parties in every case are expected to be present during the entire hearing.  This is a reasonable and very standard requirement. This requirement is for the protection of the rights of the parties. In order for them to follow the proceeding and have the opportunity for cross-examination, they must be present. Nevertheless, ALJ Heydinger has recognized that since there are so many parties to this matter some may not be able to be present at all times. She has, therefore, allowed the parties to request a leave to be absent if necessary.

Ummmmmmm, aren’t parties members of the public with a specific interest in the proceeding?

And this regarding bias and prejudice regarding “need” for the transmission line:

The other claim of bias is based in the alleged “determination of need” for the transmission project by ALJ Heydinger. As pointed out in Ms. Overland’s affidavit, this is not a Certificate of Need Hearing. The Notice and Order for Hearing issued by the Public Utilities Commission on June 2, 2009, identified the issues in this matter as whether the proposed high voltage transmission line met the routing criteria set out in Minn. Stat. § 216E.03.  ALJ Heydinger has not made any determinations or recommendations with respect to any aspect of the substance of this case at this point. She has, as is proper in a route case, asked parties to indicate in their pre-filed testimony what their preferred route is.  Requesting this information does not constitute a determination of need by the ALJ.  Nothing in the pre-hearing orders prevents the public or the parties from expressing their views on the need for this transmission project.

From our friends in Colorado with this note:

A full copy of the spoof letter and press release are available at:

(Website taken down on April 1, 2010  after complaint from Xcel…)


April 1, 2010

Denver, CO – On April Fools’ Day – as part of the international ‘Fossil Fools Day’ – Colorado activists pulled an elaborate prank on Xcel Energy, the largest utility company in the state. With a farce website (, a satirical press release, and a letter to Colorado ratepayers, activists helped Xcel Energy become a renewable energy leader. The announcement said that Xcel Energy would switch to 100% renewable electricity in Colorado by phasing out all coal plants and abandoning plans to convert existing coal plants to natural gas.

In the spoof initiative, Xcel Energy agreed to pay for the transition to renewable energy out of its own deep pockets. The letter assured Colorado ratepayers: “While, over the past several years, we have raised rates for our customers numerous times, our new approach will put the burden on Xcel’s executives rather than our loyal and hardworking customers. And, rest assured, we can afford it. With an annual profit of nearly $700 million and CEO pay in the millions each year, our ‘responsible by nature’ executives are volunteering to take pay cuts to ensure the success of our plan.”

The press release was sent to a wide variety of media outlets, including business and financial journals around the country. In addition, the press release was sent to politicians and public agencies throughout Colorado, as well as to to various fossil fools, including coal and gas companies and lobby groups such as Americans for Clean Coal Electricity, to remind them which way the wind is blowing.

Beyond that, activists throughout the state distributed thousands of copies of a “letter from Xcel” to ratepayers and renewable energy companies, who were encouraged to email Xcel Energy’s Board of Directors to thank them for their “bold renewable energy proposal.”

The press release was sent out by “Simon Grunwasch.” Grunwasch is German for “greenwash,” indicating that Xcel Energy is masking its environmentally destructive reliance on fossil fuels behind a public image that emphasizes renewable energy. Currently, 90% of the company’s electricity in Colorado is generated by fossil fuels and only 10% from renewable sources. However, this is not for a lack of wind, solar and geothermal capacity. Xcel has received 15,000MW of bids for renewable energy projects – more than double its peak demand – but has only accepted a small fraction.

Though the company has recently announced its support of legislation that would retire or modify three Front Range coal plants by 2017, it is simultaneously opening the Comanche 3 coal-fired power plant in Pueblo – the largest coal plant in the state. The lifetime emissions from operating Comanche 3 will overwhelm any savings from retiring Front Range coal plants a few years early. Worse still, these coal plants could be replaced with natural gas, which still emits roughly 60% as much CO2 as coal, in addition to methane – a highly potent greenhouse gas.

“While this spoof announcement is unfortunately nothing more than an April Fools’ Day joke, it is an honest representation of what Xcel Energy needs to do,” said ‘Simon Grunwasch.’ “Xcel Energy needs to stop raising rates on Coloradans to pay for new coal plants, expensive natural gas and perks for their executives. Instead, they need to invest their vast resources in renewable energy for Colorado.”

More information about Fossil Fools Day is available at:

Wish it were true? Contact Xcel Energy’s Board of Directors at: